Jaffe to merge with a major Midwestern law firm

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In order to tap into a broader field of potential talent and strengthen its service offerings, the law firm Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss PC is partnering with a larger player in the legal sector.

Southfield-based Jaffe, with an additional office in downtown Detroit, announced on Sunday that it has reached an agreement with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in a deal expected to close Dec. 31. .

The combined firm will have more than 800 attorneys in more than a dozen offices spanning as far west as Denver, and approximately $525 million in revenue.

Once the merger is complete, executives then plan to undertake a transition period during which Jaffe will likely add “Taft” to its branding and take on the Taft name at some undetermined later date.

For executives at Jaffe — which is Michigan’s 11th-largest law firm with about 120 attorneys, according to Crain data — the decision to merge with a larger firm was a “long-term strategic decision” and made for “a deliberative process,” said company CEO Mark Cooper.

Talks between the two companies have been going on for about 19 months, according to executives of the two companies.

Jaffe executives stressed that the decision to combine with a larger company is not so much a necessity, but a recognition of the changing landscape for the company’s customers and the business community in general.

“As your customers grow, you need to make sure you grow before they do,” said Arthur Weiss, president of Jaffe.

“It’s essential, and if not, you’ll have flaws (as a law firm). Our clients have grown significantly, so we’ve made a strategic decision in order to exceed our clients (and provide) services, quality and added value, we needed to find a partner who would merge this concept and take us to the next level.”

Post-merger, Jaffe’s current management team will continue to lead and make decisions in the Detroit market, and many will take on company-wide leadership roles, serving on Taft’s Executive Committee, all other major company committees and chairing practice groups.

Taft was founded in Cincinnati, but its executives tout a “no-headquarters model.” The larger company aims to provide increased capital and resources to businesses that fall under its umbrella, said Robert Hicks, president and managing partner of the Indianapolis-based firm.

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